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Letter: Put Congress on a clear, productive path

To the Editor:

More than a hundred and fifty years ago, President Abraham Lincoln would give one of his most important and unforgettable speeches in Gettysburg, Penn. Toward the end of the address, he used the iconic phrases "a new birth of freedom" and "by the people, for the people." The Civil War would continue to rage for several more years and the great experiment started during the American Revolutionary War wouldn't disappear from the face of the earth.

Today, with Congress divided like never before, I ask our elected officials to support term-limits and election reforms to purge big money and lobbyists from Washington, D.C. By the people, for the people seems contrary to what is happening now.

I also encourage the voters to ask their candidates if they support term-limits and election reforms. I would guess most Americans favor spending limits, shorter election periods and restricting TV ads and radio commercials. If the people pressure Congress to act, then I believe they will be forced to change.

My critics will say this will interfere with freedom of speech and prevent corporations and big money from running TV commercials endlessly. I'd say that‘s a good thing. I think it would be refreshing to see more people writing their elected officials expressing approval or disapproval of legislation rather than corporate lawyers or lobbyists being reward or their influence.

I'm a dreamer, you might say. My push for term-limits as a candidate for the Minnesota House of Representatives years ago seemed only popular for the party not in power. Will anyone in Congress be willing to give up power only to save the great experiment Lincoln talked about years ago?

I believe this murky road Congress is taking can't continue. The new birth of freedom I call for won't reward the rich or powerful, but it will keep alive the dream of democracy for years to come. We have elections and choices ahead. I hope we follow the right path for America.

Jeffrey W. Flaten